Malegaon bomb blast accused Lt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit has moved the Bombay High Court challenging a special NIA court order rejecting his plea against the sanction for his prosecution under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The Bombay HC is likely to pronounce its decision on whether it will drop terror charges against him on Thursday, October 25, 2018.
Last week, a special NIA court rejected the pleas filed by Lt Col Purohit and other accused - Pragya Singh Thakur, retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay, Sameer Kulkarni, Ajay Rahirkar, Sudhakar Dwivedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi challenging the validity of the UAPA charges in the case. The court also termed as valid the sanction for his prosecution under the UAPA.
While pronouncing its order on the applicability of UAPA, the Special NIA court had said that it would frame charges against the accused in the Malegaon blasts case under the UAPA and relevant sections of the IPC on October 26.
According to Lt Col Purohit's plea filed in Bombay HC, the sanction to apply the UAPA provisions in the case was not granted in accordance with Section 45 of the Act, which says the sanctioning authority has to take into consideration the report and recommendation of an appropriate authority appointed by the government. However, no such authority was appointed in January 2009 when the Maharashtra home department's Additional Chief Secretary had accorded sanction to apply the UAPA in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.
While the High Court had said that the NIA court must examine the applicability of UAPA against Purohit before framing charges against him in the case, it had refused to stay the framing of charges against him last month. Purohit had in his plea objected to the Maharashtra government’s move to grant sanction for his prosecution under section 45 (2) of the UAPA.
The court, however, gave partial relief by dropping all charges against them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Six people were killed and nearly 100 injured when an explosive device strapped to a motorcycle went off near a mosque at Malegaon, a town in Maharashtra's Nashik district, on September 29, 2008.